Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mexican Wednesday

Today was a back-of-the-freezer day.  Luckily, I had something that fit in with the International Week theme that I created last night.

  • TJ's Black Bean & Corn Enchilada
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar & jack cheese
  • green salad with red bell pepper
  • tangerine
Nothing special.  I had to add a little cheese on top of these enchiladas because I can't support the "dairy free" enchilada movement.  Ok, maybe it's not exactly a movement.  But enchiladas are supposed to be cheesy.  It's the law!  Anyway, it wouldn't have mattered if I drowned these enchiladas in cheese because they were not very tasty.  Super salty and the sauce was gloopy.  I guess I buy these ready meals for an emergency lunch on days, like today, when fresh food is running low and we want to eat up whatever we have.  Oh, but it's a drag to eat this stuff.  I know I have other options, like buying lunch at one of my favorite sandwich shops (I'm looking at you, Pret).  But I can't bring myself to buy a lunch when I know I  have the ability to pack something.  I've got to get better at choosing my emergency lunch items.

We had our office holiday party tonight.  (Hence the after midnight post.)  It was at a really great barbecue restaurant and I had a little bit of everything.  The best part was taking a doggie bag home.  Now I've got to figure out how to shoehorn leftover Mississippi barbecue and grilled salmon in this international theme.  

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Japanese Tuesday

I think I'm trying to force a theme here.  But today's lunch had a slight (very slight, actually) Japanese feel to it.  I guess it was just the fish and rice, but let's call it International Week here at A Packable Feast:

  • broiled tilapia over a bed of basmati rice
  • pineapple chunks
  • green salad with red bell peppers smushed in with a tangerine
  • rosemary and thyme walnuts
Well, the rice was leftover from our extravagant Sunday night take-out dinner.  But the tilapia filets were sitting in our freezer, begging to be cooked this week.  Anyway, on to the nuts!

I made a big batch of these nuts as holiday gifts for the office.  I put them in little jars and made some little gift bags.  Rats! I just realized I should have taken a picture of them for this here bloggy wog. Sorry.  I got the recipe from a recent issue of Self Magazine.  Here it is:

Rosemary and Thyme Walnuts
  • 5 teaspoons olive oil
  • 5 teaspoons pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 3 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 cups walnut halves
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat oven to 350°. In a bowl, whisk 5 tsp olive oil with 5 tsp pure maple syrup and 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper. Stir in 1 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary and 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme. Add 2 cups walnut halves; toss well to coat. Spread evenly on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake until fragrant and crisp, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme and 1/4 tsp kosher salt. Cool completely.

I just had another big realization.  I used 5 TABLESPOONS OF OIL AND MAPLE SYRUP instead of 5 teaspoons!!!  What the heck was I thinking.  No wonder they were so sweet and oily!! Sheesh!! I can't believe I was so stupid.  Anyway, learn from my mistakes.  Read your recipes carefully, kiddies.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Indian Monday

After surviving the never-ending meatloaf, we decided to order in last night.  Hence, today's lunch:

  • green salad with red bell peppers
  • tangerines
  • lamb bhuna ghosht 
  • basmati rice with crispy bits of garlic
We ended up making a great bolognese sauce with the remainder of the meatloaf.  It was dinner for at least 3 nights.  Thanks for all the great ideas.  Then, I convinced myself that since it's a short week and we will be gone for all of next week (California, here we come!) that shouldn't cook enormous amounts of food.  I also convinced myself that since I save so much money by packing my lunch and breakfast 5 days a week we should treat ourselves to a big Sunday night take-out Indian meal.  $77 and an intense case of heartburn later... 

Well, don't I feel stupid!

But it was pretty nice to have a such a warm and filling lunch this afternoon.  I'm surprised and kind of sad that it hasn't snowed here yet.  I think I get a sick sense of smugness when I leave to go back to California for Christmas and NYC is covered in a blanket of snow.  However, it was so bad last winter that I don't dare miss the snow too much.  Anyway, I'm feeling bad about getting take-out last night.  Not only was it waaaaay too expensive but it was also really unhealthy.  Why do we do things like that?  Or, I guess I should say, why do I do things like that? Do you ever do things like that? You know, irrational spending coupled with irrational eating.  Oh well.  Acknowledge and move on.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Third Time's A Charm

BO-ring!!!  This lunch epitomizes Hump Day:

  • turkey meatloaf with ketchup
  • steamed broccoli
  • 2 tangerines
  • green salad with red bell peppers
I tried to make it a bit more healthy than yesterday, but it's clearly not any more exciting.  Thanks for the great suggestions.  I'm going to try to spruce up this poor meatloaf for the rest of the week.  Oh, I decided to go for all fruit and veggie sides today because ate about 10 lbs of Christmas cookies and homemade toffee that some evil person left lying around the office.  You know I'm a sucker for a sugary treat!  But, obviously, when you eat it every hour throughout the entire's not really a "treat" anymore.  So, I decided to counteract yesterday's overindulgence.  Besides, the Luna bars that I have in the house are essentially glorified rice crispy squares (dipped in chocolate).  What is the deal (hello, I'm Jerry Seinfeld) with all these dang bars?  Actually, I should say, what's the deal with me buying and eating them when I know full well that they are just candy?!  When they first invented them they were supposed to be for "energy" or "protein" or some bunk like that.  But we all know they are just another thing that we can stuff into our pie-holes under the pretense of being healthy.  And even if they are meant to supplement or replace your meals because you're so busy working out, running marathons or whatever, then I still shouldn't be eating them since my most intense activities have consisted of me walking to the subway and pushing my way through the doors to find the first open seat.  Ok, rant over.  That was my inane way of mentioning that I'm going to try to stop eating Luna bars.  Do you ever eat these energy bar things?  Why or why not? Am I doing them wrong?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


So this was day 2 of meatloaf mania.  So far, it's pretty good:

  • sugar snap peas
  • Luna bar (s'mores flavor)
  • frozen pineapple chunks
  • turkey meatloaf with a squirt of ketchup
Ok, like I said.  This is pretty good.  It's not majorly unhealthy and it's tasty and filling.  But, it is kind of boring and unimaginative.  After all, I did make a big pronouncement about cutting leftovers out of my lunch regime.  Now, here I cooking giant portions of food just so I can use the leftovers for lunch.  I guess it's harder to get super creative with lunch than I realized.  But I still want to start thinking outside the box. No pun intended.

Anyway, I'll leave you with a couple of questions.  What the hell can I do with the 3 lbs. of leftover turkey meatloaf we have?  I sure there are lots of different ways to "repurpose" this beast, but I'm too complacent to figure them out right now.  Also, do you guys ever eat meatloaf?  I didn't grow up eating it.  In fact, I think my parents would call this "exotic" American food.  But I tried making it a few years ago when I wanted to make a supposed classic American comfort meal.  I think I was trying to be kitschy, but I actually really ended up liking it.  So, was it a staple in your home or is it mystery meat to you?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Get Used To This

I think you'll be seeing a lot of this guy in the coming week.  I just put the above 5+ pound turkey meatloaf into the oven.  I used Ina Garten's recipe, except I substituted 2 of the meat pounds with some chicken sausage that we have had in the freezer for a donkey's age.  I also used some dried mixed herbs instead of fresh thyme.  Here's pretty much what I put into this sucker, try for yourself:

Turkey Meatloaf


  • 3 cups chopped yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de provence
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons tomato paste
  • 3 pounds ground turkey breast
  • 2 pounds chicken sausage (peel off the casing first)
  • 1 1/2 cups plain dry bread crumbs
  • 3 extra-large eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup ketchup


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a medium saute pan, over medium-low heat, cook the onions, olive oil, salt, pepper, and thyme until translucent, but not browned, approximately 15 minutes. Add the Worcestershire sauce, chicken stock, and tomato paste and mix well. Allow to cool to room temperature.
Combine the ground turkey, chicken sausage meat, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture in a large bowl. Mix well and shape into a rectangular loaf on an ungreased sheet pan. Spread the ketchup evenly on top. Bake for 1 hour until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. and the meatloaf is cooked through. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Adventures In Burritoing

 I made a risky move with lunch today.  I essentially put soup in a bag.  But it worked:

  • roasted Brussels sprouts
  • vanilla cake with chocolate frosting (all organic, but still fattening)
  • beef chili with low fat cheddar cubes wrapped in a TJ whole wheat tortilla
  • raspberries
Day 3 of eating this awesome chili for lunch and I decided to try having a chili burrito.  It was a little drippy but really delicious.  

I actually used a smaller portion of chili than I would normally eat to accommodate the tortilla.  I could have done with a bit more cheese, but I didn't want to make it any more unhealthy than it already is.  And that's another thing.  My lunches this week are not doing me any favors in the weight loss/don't get any fatter department.  I know I should be eating lighter and more vegetable based meals if I'm ever going to shift this pudge.  But, man...meat and sugar have got me twisted!  I wish I was one of those people who could do some sort of "detox" from sugar and meat but I don't have it in me.  Besides, I like them too much quit cold turkey.

Are there any foods that you feel you need to detox from?  Do you even believe in the whole detox thing?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Beefy Beefy

 I know I said I'm going to stop eating leftovers, and I'm trying.  But when your man brings home a pound of grass fed organic beef and makes a delectable pot of eat it, man. YOU EAT IT!

  • Brussel sprouts
  • homemade organic vanilla cake with homemade chocolate buttercream frosting
  • creepily long green grapes
  • Texas style beef chili with light white cheddar on top

And, technically, it's not leftovers because we didn't even have it for dinner last night since it took 8+ hours in the slow cooker.  But, oh boy was it worth it.  Anyway I chopped up one of these cheeses.  What do you think of my attempt at galaxy nails?
Yummy!  And yes, I did bake and ice and entire cake (it's sort of small, but still).  The Dude and I plan on taking a little piece for lunch every day.  I LOVE having a real dessert waiting for me in my lunchbox.  Also, it's great to finally contribute to something to our weekly meal bank.  He does most of the cooking these days, but I'm working on picking up the slack.  Dessert is a great way to start.

Do you guys put a dessert or sweet treat in your lunch?